Washington, D.C. In response to the Justice Department’s indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today on public corruption charges, CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder issued the following statement:

“The conduct alleged in today’s indictment of Sen. Menendez is cause for grave concern.  The Justice Department’s indictment paints a picture of a high-ranking senator selling his position in exchange for gifts including flights on a private jet.

“CREW has long expressed concern over the relationship between Sen. Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen and, more broadly, sought reforms to rein in the influence of big money in our government. Today’s indictment affirms the need to change business as usual in Washington. The Justice Department deserves credit for its determination to hold Sen. Menendez accountable.

“Sen. Menendez deserves a fair trial, but it is not appropriate for him to retain his powerful position within the Congress in light of the allegations against him, some of which could implicate foreign relations.  Sen. Menendez should step down from his position as Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Committee immediately, and if he does not, Minority Leader Reid should remove him.”